The experts, trade organizations and government representatives were welcomed by Dr. Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth, German Ambassador to Sweden, after which Andreas Hartl, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and Nino Mangiapane, Federal Ministry of Health presented how eHealth is important for the continuation of growth of the German economy. The German healthcare sector is the single most backwards industry when it comes to digitalization which is of course a setback for an otherwise world leading manufacturer and provider of healthcare products and services. There are many challenges such as regulations, decentralization, integrity concerns from the citizens but also the lack of perception of the urgency to adapt and digitalize. Which was heavily debated by the participants.
After which MiH reps from both countries, Henrik Moberg and Niklas Kramer presented current plans for digitalization in healthcare. Followed up by a knowledgeable and empathic presentation on political backing of these initiatives by Anders Lönnberg, National Coordinator for the life sciences leading to heavy table-knocking from all participants.To move from the regulations, integrity and policy heavy topic to a lighter subject, Julia Hagen from Bitkom presented the challenges for startups in Germany and here both parties could argue that there is a risk of brain drain if policy-makers and the public healthcare providers are too slow to act on these challenges. That entrepreneurs are increasingly looking for offshores markets to sell and even relocate to. While investments were lifted as a challenge the major challenge is rather revenue and unclarity on the regulatory requirements such as CE-marking and GDPR.
This lead to the area of data usage, which lead to a warm and intense debate, where both the role of standards, updated regulations, and creation of roadmaps and guidelines was lifted. Here the German Electronic Health Card was discussed as well as the Swedish unlaunched initiatives such as HälsaförMig™, and the underlying software, where the usage of bitcoin could be a solution. All parties agreed that a huge problem in the legislature is that technology advances faster and it is hard to judge past solutions with todays or tomorrows technical capacity. Further the need of making legislative bodies and governments more Tech-savvy to understand that the technology is seldom black-or-white but very adaptive to different sorts of needs such as those regarding dynamic consent, opt-in and opt-out and other things that is fully technically possible. Estonia was lifted as an example of a forwards’ nation in how to understand the potential and dynamics of the technology in a realistic and pragmatic way for government needs. Finally, parties agreed that while Sweden and Germany has a lot to learn from each other, we should also include best practice learnings from the outside in particular in the set-up of consensus creation such as the Seqouia project for sharing health data.The concrete next steps wanted are a formalized innovation platform to continue these discussions to reduce barriers of entry to the markets, and retain and grow our homegrown eHealth companies, AND on a more concrete tone the trade delegation 7-8 February to Berlin that SWECARE and the German-Swedish Chamber of Commerce organize.